AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback in Godot – Complete Guide

Managing animations in a game can be as crucial as the gameplay itself. They convey the movement and emotion of characters, the dynamics of the environment, and the impact of actions and interactions within the game world. For those working with Godot 4, mastering the art of animation is a great way to enhance gamer experience and bring your virtual creations to life. The AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback class is a robust tool within Godot’s animation arsenal that allows fine-tuned control over complex animation states. In this tutorial series, we’ll dive into this class, exploring how you can use it to make your in-game characters move and act in a lifelike manner, making your game more engaging and enjoyable.

What is AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback?

The AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback class is a part of the powerful animation system in Godot 4. It functions as a controller for state machine-based animations. Essentially, it allows developers to manage transitions between different animation states defined within an AnimationNodeStateMachine.

What is it for?

This class is particularly useful for controlling complex animations where characters and objects transition through multiple states, such as idle, running, jumping, or any custom states you define. With the ability to start, stop, and manipulate these states, you can create seamless and responsive animations that respond to user input or changes in the game environment.

Why should I learn it?

Understanding how to harness the power of AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback enables you to:
– Create more dynamic and responsive animations
– Improve the player’s immersion in the game
– Take advantage of Godot 4’s node and resource system to extend animations beyond the basics

Whether you’re an aspiring indie developer or an experienced coder seeking to enrich your skill set, this tutorial will equip you with the necessary tools to elevate the animation quality of your Godot 4 projects. Let’s animate your game world together!

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Creating and Configuring Your AnimationStateMachine

Before we can control animations with the `AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback` class, we first need to create an `AnimationNodeStateMachine`. This serves as the foundation for defining our various animation states and transitions between them.

Here’s the basic setup in the Godot editor:

var state_machine =

Now, let’s add some animations to our state machine. We’ll define idle and walk animations for this example:

var idle_anim =
idle_anim.animation = "Idle"
state_machine.add_node("Idle", idle_anim)

var walk_anim =
walk_anim.animation = "Walk"
state_machine.add_node("Walk", walk_anim)

Next, we’ll set up transitions between these states, which are essential for creating fluid movement:

var transition =
state_machine.add_transition("Idle", "Walk", transition)
state_machine.add_transition("Walk", "Idle", transition)

Playing and Stopping Animations

Once the `AnimationNodeStateMachine` and its states and transitions are in place, we will start and stop animation playback. Here’s how you start playing the “Idle” animation:

var playback =

To stop an animation, simply call the stop method:


Controlling Animation Flow

Controlling the flow between animations is key to making your character’s movement seem realistic. To transition from the “Idle” state to the “Walk” state, use the `travel` method:"Walk")

The `travel` method initiates a transition, if one exists, between the current state and the target state. To ensure smooth transitions, Godot interpolates between animations where possible.

Querying Playback State

It’s often necessary to know the current state of your animation or whether a certain animation is playing. This can be useful for gameplay programming, where certain actions are only available in specific animation states.

Here’s how to check the current state of playback:

var current_state = playback.get_current_node()

And to check if we are transitioning to another state, use:

var is_transitioning = playback.is_playing()

With these basics covered, you now have a foundational understanding of managing animations with the `AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback` class in Godot 4. As we dive deeper into our tutorial series, we’ll explore more complex topics like blending animations, handling loops, and responding to in-game events. Stay tuned!As you become more comfortable with the `AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback` class, it’s time to delve into some advanced features and techniques that will allow you to achieve more refined control and synchronization between your game’s animations.

Blending Animations

Blending is an essential technique for creating smooth transitions between different animations. In Godot 4, you can control how animations blend together over time.

Here’s how to set the blend time between two states:

state_machine.set_blend_time("Idle", "Walk", 0.5)
state_machine.set_blend_time("Walk", "Idle", 0.5)

This code snippet sets a half-second blend time for transitions between “Idle” and “Walk” states. When the `travel` method is called, the animations will blend seamlessly.

Handling Loops and Animation End Events

Managing loops and ending events are crucial when dealing with animation sequences that should repeat or trigger certain game logic at their end. Godot’s animation system allows you to control how animations loop.

To make an animation loop, you can set it like this:

var anim =
anim.loop = true

For handling animation ends, sometimes you want to execute an action after an animation is completed. This can be done by connecting to the `animation_finished` signal on the AnimationPlayer node. Assuming you have an AnimationPlayer node with the variable `anim_player`:

anim_player.connect("animation_finished", self, "_on_Animation_finished")

func _on_Animation_finished(anim_name):
    print("Animation finished: " + anim_name)

This code will print the name of the finished animation, but you can replace the `print` statement with any other logic you need to execute.

Adjusting Animation Speed

There may be cases where you want to change the speed of an animation during runtime, perhaps for slow-motion effects or when your character is moving faster than usual. You can adjust the playback speed of an animation like so:

playback.set_speed_scale(2.0) # Doubles the animation speed

Or slow it down:

playback.set_speed_scale(0.5) # Halves the animation speed

Transitioning with Conditions

In many games, animations should only transition when certain conditions are met, like a character reaching a particular velocity or a button being pressed. Here’s an example of how you might handle such a conditional transition:

# Let's assume we have a velocity variable that is a Vector2
func _process(delta):
    if velocity.x != 0:"Walk")

In this snippet, we check in the `_process` function (which runs every frame), if the character’s horizontal velocity is not 0, indicating movement, we transition to the “Walk” animation. Otherwise, we return to the “Idle” state.

By mastering these techniques, you will significantly enhance the liveliness and responsiveness of your game’s animations. Remember to experiment with different settings to see what works best for your specific game scenarios. Continue practicing, and you’ll soon be animating with confidence in your Godot 4 projects!

Responding to In-Game Events with Animation Callbacks

An essential aspect of game animation is to have certain actions trigger in response to what’s happening in the game. In Godot, you can utilize animation callbacks to run specific functions when the animation reaches a designated keyframe.

For example, to call a function when a character’s foot touches the ground during a walk animation, set a key in the animation timeline and add a method call track:

var anim = anim_player.get_animation("Walk")

var method_track_idx = anim.find_track(Animation.TYPE_METHOD)
anim.track_insert_key(method_track_idx, time_of_footstep, "_on_footstep")

func _on_footstep():
    # play footstep sound

This code adds a method call to the “Walk” animation, which will call the `_on_footstep` function at the specified time of the step in the animation, perfect for triggering a footstep sound.

Adjusting Animation Parameters in Real Time

Godot’s `AnimationPlayer` also allows for the real-time adjustment of animation parameters such as blending or playback speed, which can be useful for dynamic gameplay mechanics.

For instance, if you want to dynamically adjust the blend times between animations based on character speed, you could write:

var speed_ratio = get_character_speed_ratio()
state_machine.set_blend_time("Idle", "Walk", speed_ratio)
state_machine.set_blend_time("Walk", "Idle", speed_ratio)

In this case, `get_character_speed_ratio()` would be a function you’ve defined that returns a ratio based on the character’s current speed, altering how quickly animations transition to reflect the character’s movement.

Synchronization of Animation States

Sometimes animations need to be synchronized with each other, for example with characters that interact. To do this, you can retrieve the position of an animation and apply it to another.

Here’s how you could sync two animations together:

var anim_pos = anim_player.current_animation_position, true)

In this example, `anim_player` is the AnimationPlayer playing the primary animation, and `other_anim_player` is another AnimationPlayer which you want to synchronize.

Using Animation Layers for Complex Characters

For characters with complex animations, it’s common to use multiple layers to control different parts of the character independently. This can be achieved through `AnimationNodeBlendTree` in Godot.

Here’s how to set up a simple blend tree with two layers – one for the upper body and another for the lower body:

var blend_tree =

var upper_body_layer =
blend_tree.add_node("UpperBody", upper_body_layer)

var lower_body_layer =
blend_tree.add_node("LowerBody", lower_body_layer)

state_machine.add_node("BlendTree", blend_tree)

Then, connect individual animations to these layers for independent control.

Controlling Animations with Scripts

Finally, while the animation editor in Godot is powerful, sometimes it’s necessary to script complex behaviors that aren’t easy to define with the editor alone.

As an example, to start an attack animation only when the player has enough “energy”, you can add the following script to your player node:

func perform_attack():
    if energy > attack_energy_cost:
        energy -= attack_energy_cost"Attack")

This snippet checks if the player has enough energy before transitioning to the “Attack” animation and deducts the energy cost; if there isn’t enough energy, it warns the player.

Through these advanced techniques and code examples, you should now have a deep understanding of the flexibility Godot’s animation system offers. Remember that each game is unique, so feel free to adjust and expand on these snippets to fit your game’s needs!

Where to Go Next with Your Godot Learning Journey

If you’ve enjoyed diving into the world of Godot 4 and the `AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback` class, your journey doesn’t have to end here. We encourage you to keep exploring and enhancing your game development skills with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This comprehensive collection of courses is tailor-made to help you build cross-platform games and dive deeper into all the features Godot 4 offers.

Whether you are a budding programmer or an experienced game developer, our Mini-Degree will equip you with the knowledge to create engaging 2D and 3D games, understand the nuances of GDScript, and develop essential gameplay mechanics. With the flexible, powerful, and easy-to-learn Godot engine, you can start working on projects that may one day be part of your impressive portfolio.

For a broader range of resources and topics, check out our full selection of Godot courses. At Zenva, we pride ourselves on creating high-quality content that can take you from beginner to professional, at your pace, anytime, anywhere. Continue learning with us and take the next step towards mastering game development with Godot!


Congratulations on stepping through the intricacies of animation in Godot 4! Understanding the AnimationNodeStateMachinePlayback class is a massive leap towards creating fluid, dynamic, and captivating animations in your games. But remember, every step in learning is just the beginning. With the solid foundation you’ve built here, you’re well-equipped to tackle even more challenging and creative endeavors in the realm of game development.

Continue to build, experiment, and refine. Unleash the full potential of your game ideas with the knowledge you’ve gained and the tools Godot provides. Join us on a comprehensive learning adventure with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree to unlock even greater opportunities and turn your passion into projects that resonate with players around the world. Keep creating, keep learning, and let’s make game development dreams a reality!

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